Get Outside…23 Health Benefits of Being in Nature: Ecotherapy!

Have you been looking for reasons to get out into nature? Having a hard time getting outside even with the nice weather? If you and your family are in need of reasons to get outside and enjoy the fresh air we have plenty of reasons as to why you should head outside. Heading outside to enjoy what nature has to offer boosts both your physical and mental health. Keep on reading to find out just how beneficial being in nature can be.

General Health Benefits from Nature

#1 – Improved Vision:

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There are two general reasons as to how heading out into the sunshine can improve your eye health. Heading outside is the best way to prevent CVS or Computer Vision Syndrome. CVS is caused by too much up-close time to screens. CVS is not just caused by computer screens, televisions, phones, video games, any screen that you sit close to can cause these problems. The risk of developing myopia, more commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is drastically reduced in children who spend time outdoors. Several studies have found that children who play outside for at least two hours a day are four times less likely to develop myopia even if they have myopic parents. These studies have found that artificial light is a leading cause of nearsightedness.

#2 – Reduce Inflammation:

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Inflammation is something we all deal with. It is our bodies response to various threats, such as damage and pathogens. Problems occur when inflammation is constantly present. Chronic inflammation leads to depression, cancer, and various autoimmune disorders. Studies show that people who spend time more time in nature than in the city have lower levels of inflammation. In elderly patients, studies also show spending time in the outdoors helps with hypertension. 

#3 – Exercise:

It is almost impossible to head outside and not exercise. Whether it is a light walk around the block or a 5-mile bike ride, being outside increases one’s desire to get and remain active. Even a 5-minute walk has immense benefits for your overall health. Anything is better than sitting in a chair all day. Regular exercise has been shown to prevent and improve heart disease among many other things. Getting outside to exercise is better than the gym as you exert more energy and you tend to enjoy the exercise more so you make it last longer.

#4 – Improve Your Mental Health:

Going outside for even 10 minutes a day can improve your overall mental wellbeing. Spending time outside improves your attention span, boosts serotonin, and increases brain activity in the areas responsible for empathy, love, and emotional stability. Nature increases your feel-good chemicals, so it can also work effectively to help combat depression.

#5 – Vitamin D:

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This is one of the biggest reasons why you need to get outside in the sunshine. Vitamin D is necessary if you want to have a healthy immune system. Yes, you can take supplements, but the best source of Vitamin D is the sun. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and osteoporosis. Getting enough Vitamin D, which interesting to note it is a hormone, not a vitamin, has been shown to prevent heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and multiple sclerosis.

#6 – Regulate Sleep Cycles:

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Most people fail to sleep well because they have developed horrible sleeping patterns over the years. Circadian rhythms regulate our sleep patterns through our body’s internal clock. These rhythms use the sun’s schedule to guide our sleeping schedule. Too much artificial light disrupts these rhythms. To reset your body’s internal clock you simply need to spend a few days outside exposing yourself to the early morning sun.

#7 – Clean Air:

According to the New England EPA, indoor air pollutants are anywhere from 2 up to 100 times higher than outdoor ones. How high indoor pollutants are though will vary based on certain factors. California Air Resources Board states that indoor pollutant levels can be up to 65% greater than outdoor levels. The higher the pollutants the more risk there is to your health. Outdoor air pollution is bad, but indoor pollutants are far worse. Getting outside allows you to breathe cleaner air. The greener the area you are in the better the air quality as plants help improve air quality.

#8 – Give Your Brain a Boost:

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At some point, we all suffer from mental fatigue. Our brains can use a quick boost to help get it back in gear. One of the best ways to recharge your brain is to head out into nature. The beauty found in nature causes feelings of awe. These feelings are the best way to give your brain that boost it needs to get your thinking back on track.

#9 – Improve Your Short-Term Memory:

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According to a study done at the University of Michigan walking outside among the trees helps improve your short-term memory. To test this theory researchers gave people a memory test and split them into two groups. One group walked city streets the other walked an arboretum. At the end of the walk, the groups were given the memory test again. Results showed that people who walked among trees did 20% better the second time around. 

Health Benefits from the Forest

#10 – Immune System Boost:

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Heading out into the forest allows us to breathe in phytoncides. Phytoncides are chemicals plants produce to ward off insects. Phytoncides also has antifungal and antibacterial properties to aid plants in fighting diseases. As we breathe in these chemicals it increases the number and activity of the natural killer cells. This type of white blood cell aids your body in killing virus-infected cells and tumor cells. 

#11 – Improves Focus:

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Most of us find ourselves mentally exhausted at the end of the day. We are so mentally exhausted because our lives are so busy it is hard to focus on so many things going on. Children with ADHD generally have a hard time focusing. Studies show that spending time in the forest can help improve your focus. Giving your cognitive brain a break by relaxing in nature renews your focus and increases your patience. 

#12 – Reduces Stress/Lowers Blood Pressure:

Scents and smells from the forest contribute greatly to reducing your stress levels. Research shows that smells and scents play a strong role in our health and emotions. Many smells are linked to the emotional part of our brains. Pine, cypress, cedar, and fir trees contain alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. These phytoncides have been shown to decrease cortisol stress hormones in your body. Lowering that hormone also aids in reducing depression.

Health Benefits from the Ocean

#13 – Natural Beauty Treatment:

A day at the beach is equivalent to a day at the spa, but with some extra benefits. Spending even just a few hours on the beach has a positive effect on your health and your skin. And, no we are not talking about tanning, please wear sunscreen and remember to reapply! Both the beach and ocean have detoxification and antibacterial properties. The coarse sand naturally exfoliates any part of your body that comes into contact with it. The sun opens your pores allowing the salt water to come in and pull out toxins. Seawater contains iodine and slat which work together to destroy bacteria and fungi found on your skin.

#14 – Reduce Pain and Inflammation:

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via wise+well

Exercise is important for a healthy body, but sometimes we have physical limitations. If you suffer from joint pain or arthritis the beach might be the perfect place for your exercise. Water aerobics in the ocean is a great way to help reduce pain and inflammation. The water reduces body weight by about 90%, plus you get the resistance of the water without the impact on your joints.

#15 – Easier to Breathe:

Have you ever noticed how deeply you breathe when you first step foot on the beach? This isn’t something that people consciously do; it’s an automatic response from your body due to the quality of the air. On the beach, your chest muscles are relaxed allowing you to breathe easier. Oxygen absorption is also increased due to the air being filled with negative ions.

#16 – Increase Iodine Levels:

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Many people take iodine supplements because of the numerous health benefits it provides for your body. Iodine levels play a vital role in energy levels and metabolic rates. Iodine is also responsible for hair and nail growth, as well as regulating hormone levels. Some research even suggests iodine has anti-carcinogenic properties and can reduce fibrocystic disease symptoms. Increasing iodine levels is easy when you visit the ocean as it is naturally present in seawater. Swimming in the ocean allows your body to naturally absorb the iodine.

#17 – Fight Off Infections:

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We all know how much an open wound stings when we enter the ocean. What we might not realize is the stinging is the wound being cleaned. Salt water has antifungal and antibacterial properties that work to ward off external and internal infections. The iodine found in the salt water offers antiseptic properties and boosts your immune system to help fight off infections.

#18 – Better Sleep: 

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Having problems sleeping at night/ Suffer from insomnia? Spending a day at the beach is one of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep. Spending time at the beach relieves key factors that prevent most people from sleeping: stress and anxiety, hormonal imbalances, and lack of physical fatigue.

Health Benefits from the Mountains

#19 – Aids in Weight Loss:

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Mountaineers have long known that you will lose weight as you climb in altitude. In the 1920s mountaineers spent hours trying to come up with a plan to eat enough calories to sustain their bodies for the journey up the mountain. One study has shown that people who live at sea level are 5 times more likely to suffer from obesity when compared to those that live in higher altitude states, such as Colorado. Even taking a week-long trip to the mountains can help get your weight loss going. 

#20 – Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease:

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Based on some research it has shown that being in the mountains lowers your risk of ischemic heart disease. Researchers think that the lower oxygen levels that come with higher altitudes turn on certain genes. Those genes then change the way your heart muscles work. 

#21 – Live Longer:

Living in the mountains might have an impact on how long you live. Nobody really knows why, but if you look at the Lower Himalayan Range’s Kashmir you will find several centenarians living there. The top 10 counties in the United States for long life spans include seven high altitude counties in Colorado.

#22 – Breathe Easier:

Mountains have far less pollution than valley floors. Up in the mountains, you never have to worry about inversions. Less pollution equals fewer respiratory problems in people. Those who suffer from asthma find it easier to breathe.

#23 – Better Sleep:

Being in the mountains can be relaxing, plus the fresh air mixed with a fresh pine scent helps reduce stress and depression. In the mountains, you can’t help but be active. After spending a day in the mountains you should naturally sleep better at night. Lavender is often found growing at the base of most mountains. The scent of lavender has long been known for its ability to promote a good night’s sleep and ease feelings of depression.

Health Benefits of Ecotherapy Final Thoughts

If you have ever spent time outside in the sun you know just how good it can make you feel. If you haven’t been spending much time outdoors we hope we were able to change your mind. Spending time in nature provides you with so many benefits that we didn’t have enough room to list them here. What we have included are the health benefits we felt were the most important. The ones that will help get you out the door. Thank you for visiting BestTacticalFlashlights.net. Please take a look at our flashlight reviews or our flashlight buyers guides for all your flashlight needs.